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Open AccessArticle

Biology and Life Stages of Pine Spittle Bug Ocoaxo assimilis Walker (Hemiptera: Cercopidae)

1
División de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Carretera Federal Mexico-Texcoco Km 38.5, Texcoco 56230, Mexico
2
Departamento de Fitotecnia, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Carretera Federal Mexico-Texcoco Km 38.5, Texcoco 56230, México
3
Colección Nacional de Insectos, Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cto. Zona Deportiva S/N, Ciudad Universitaria, CDMX 04510, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020096
Received: 13 December 2019 / Revised: 19 January 2020 / Accepted: 28 January 2020 / Published: 1 February 2020
The first records of outbreaks of the Pine Spittle bug Ocoaxo assimilis Walker were recently identified from Puebla, Mexico, which promoted more than 2600 ha of forest foliar fall. Beyond the taxonomic and distribution information of this species, the basic traits of its biology remain unknown. This study aims to describe some biological aspects of O. assimilis, in a natural pine forest at Nicolás Bravo, Puebla (NB). Using morphological characteristics and a phylogenetic analysis of a fragment of cytochrome oxidase subunit I mtDNA (COI), immature instars with adults were studied; the instar number was determined by means of a multivariate analysis of 19 morphological characteristics of 121 specimens. The systematic sampling to evaluate the occurrence of nymphal specimens during a year, plus host selection experiments, allowed for determination of the abundance over time, voltism, and host preferences. Phylogenetic analysis of the COI supported that both nymphs and adults collected in NB correspond to O. assimilis. Principal coordinate analysis supported the existence of five nymphal stages. Field sampling and host selection experiments indicated that this species displays a single generation per year, is associated with the rainy season, and that specimens from the three first nymphal stages feed on roots of eight host species (one grass, four herbaceous species, one bush, and two trees). From the fourth instar, the insects feed on pine roots to complete their development, and when they are adults, they migrate to needles of young or mature pine stands of Pinus pseudostrobus to feed and reproduce.
Keywords: life cycle; voltism; pine decline; forest insect; nymphal instars life cycle; voltism; pine decline; forest insect; nymphal instars
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Cid-Muñoz, R.; Cibrián-Tovar, D.; Valadez-Moctezuma, E.; Estrada-Martínez, E.; Armendáriz-Toledano, F. Biology and Life Stages of Pine Spittle Bug Ocoaxo assimilis Walker (Hemiptera: Cercopidae). Insects 2020, 11, 96.

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